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Week One X-Factor: WR Chris Godwin

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In an opening matchup with the New Orleans Saints, Chris Godwin is the player to keep an eye on

NFL: New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

We know the story lines. Jameis is out, Fitzpatrick is starting. The Bucs are on the road in a hostile environment against a division rival that many have pegged to compete for a Lombardi Trophy. I’ve said numerous times that this game will come down to the defense’s ability to neutralize Alvin Kamara and get pressure on Drew Brees while the offense has to ground and pound to eat up the clock.

But Chris Godwin may end up being the key to it all.

Godwin started off his rookie campaign slowly, but really came on towards the end of the season. In his final two games, Godwin finished with ten receptions on eighteen targets with 209 yards and a touchdown - 111 yards and that touchdown coming against this Saints team to close out 2017.

Mike Evans is the guy for the Buccaneers, but he and Marshon Lattimore have quite the rivalry budding and Evans hasn’t exactly lit the world on fire in games against New Orleans. Last season when facing the Saints, Evans had six receptions for 68 yards and no touchdowns.

Another factor to take into account is Godwin’s production when Ryan Fitzpatrick is under center. In Fitz’s three starts, Godwin finished with eight receptions for 123 yards. They have a rapport from working with one another on the second team offense all last season and that trust has been built, established, and will be on full display.

With Lattimore facing off against Evans and the Saints’ safeties likely focusing on keeping him off the stat sheet, Godwin will get some solid looks. It’ll be on Godwin to take advantage of the opportunity and show that he’s taken his next step to becoming the high level compliment to Evans we all believe he is.

Bold Prediction: Godwin finished with seven receptions for 80+ yards and two touchdowns